Comic Publishers

September 30, 2011

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays: Young Dr. Masters and Aztec Mummies!

Howdy readers and welcome back for your all-age comic fix with From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! Before we get down to it, we had a special edition of the column this past Wednesday where we looked at Sailor Moon, Kikaida, and Pokemon, so if you missed that then click here.

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Out On Stands: World of Archie Double Digest #10
Publisher: Archie Comics
Story and Art: Various

All of the Archie digests and some regular issues are doing these great reprints of classic Archie comic material as part of their 70th Anniversary celebration, plenty of it forgotten books or characters. I’ll get to the other stories in this digest in a second, but the reason why I reviewed this one is simple: Young Dr. Masters! Young Dr. Masters was an Archie comic that originally ran for just two issues. Done in a more realistic stlye (unlike Archie’s normal cartoonish style), it tells the story of Young Dr. Masters, a doctor who can’t live up to his elder father’s reputation as a doctor. Struggling with wanting to follow his dream and just being a lab-tech, he is pressured by his fiancee to grow up, and by his father to be a traditional doctor. However, the Young Dr. Masters proves himself worthwhile as he saves the life (and at the time captures) of an armed robber, saves the lives of construction workers several stories up pinned under steel bars as he daringly climbs out to assist and save, and finally battles his own father’s deadly disease. Add all that melodramatic action up with his troubles with his fiancee and a young nurse who’s fallen for him, and Young Dr. Masters packs a punch. Yes, this much over looked comic was there to ride on the wave of the giant romance comic boom that quite frequently we forget dominated U.S. comics for a period of time (and kept many U.S. publishers like DC and Marvel open), but it is a really cool gem of yesteryear. Archie has done a nice looking reprint of the whole first issue’s story in this issue of World of Archie Double Digest, making this book worth picking up no matter if you’d normally read this title or not.

Now that I’m done being Young Dr. Masters crazy, I’ll mention that this issue contains the second part of a story about Archie and friends shooting a movie with their friend Raj in India, as jealousy shoots a flare for our teens, a handful of classic Archie and pals stories, and a great reprint of a classic Josie tale (for those of you who don’t know, before Josie and the Pussy Cats, Josie was the star of She’s Josie, which also featured fellow Pussycat Melody in everyday high school antics).

The Archie gang when you look at its long history is the most flexible cast of characters in comic books. Aside from the gag and romance comics, they’ve also been re-imagined in several series as soap opera-esque adults, superheroes, secret agents, “lil'” versions, baby versions, a Scooby-Doo-like monster mystery gang, sci-fi teens in the year 3000, and much more. This kind of constant multiple genre story line telling has kept them timeless, fresh, and always drawing new readers in. Getting to see reprints of their old material as well as some obscure classic Archie comics material makes you realize what a great universe this comic book company has at its disposal, as well as the flexibility and range it has.

So the long-short is that for only $3.99 you get the amazing Young Dr. Masters, fun Archie stories, and a hip Josie tale. A must pick up (if just for the Young Dr. Masters comic).

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Something To Watch: Curse of the Aztec Mummy

Also known by its original title La Maldicion de la Momia Azteca, the 1957 Curse of the Aztec Mummy is the 2nd film in the sci-fi fan favorite Aztec Mummy trilogy. The trilogy was shot back-to-back in Mexico, and although the film El Vampiro, which is credited with the birth of the Mexican-horror wave, was released in 1957 before the first film, La Momia Azteca, the trilogy was actually shot first by CLASA Studios. The second and third film would be brought to the United States and dubbed by K Gordon Murray for American International Television (the third film, The Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy, would also become a famous Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode). Each Aztec Mummy film has a slightly different flavor to it, and the second uses the Mexican superhero luchador genre to mix it up.

The film starts when the evil scientist/criminal Dr. Krupp, also known as the Bat, is broken out of custody while being transported from jail. The luchador named The Angel shows up and tries to stop them with no luck. The Angel warns Dr. Almada and his fiancee of Krupp being sprung loose since he tried to tangle with them and steal the Aztec treasure once before. Predictably, Krupp kidnaps Flora so he may hypnotize her and have her reveal the location of the Aztec treasure. Almada tries to rescue Flora but is captured. The Angel tries to rescue Almada but is captured. Young Bobby tries to rescue The Angel and…well you get the idea. Krupp gets the treasure and awakens the Aztec Mummy, who then stalks into the night to take revenge and take back the treasure. The rest is a surprise for you to watch.

I enjoyed Curse of the Aztec Mummy, although I think The Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy is the strongest of the series. The luchador action is good, but don’t be expecting the crazy non-luchador action of a Santo film. The luchador aspect is used more as seasoning where the Aztec Mummy is the steak. It’s a good pop corn film to watch as we get into the Halloween season that has just a little bit of everything. You’re something to watch this weekend is Curse of the Aztec Mummy.

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That’s it for this week, see you next! Sending you some kaiju-love from the mountains!

Drew McCabe
drew@comicattack.net

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